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Torn Away

256 pages
Thirteen-year-old Declan lives only for revenge. His mother, father and sister were all killed on the streets of Belfast, and Declan will stop at nothing to settle the score. When he is torn away from his native soil and sent to live with relatives in Canada, he is disgusted by their efforts to welcome him into their lives, and determined to make them regret their hospitality. Can he devise a plan to return to Ireland and rejoin his cause? Or will the strange beauty of his new life and surroundings weaken his resolve?
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In memory of my mother and father. JH
Copyright © 2003 James Heneghan
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication DataHeneghan, James, 1930-
Torn away / James Heneghan.
IBSN 1-55143-263-3
1. Irish--Canada--Juvenile fiction. 2. Immigrants--Canada--Juvenile fiction. I. Title.
PS8565.E581T67 2003 jC813’.54 C2003-910772-8
PZ7.H3865To 2003
First published in the United States of America by Viking,
a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1994.
Published by Puffin Books, 1996. (ISBN 0-14-036646-6)
Library of Congress Control Number:2003106457
Summary: Forcibly deported to Canada because of his terrorist activities in Northern Ireland, thirteen-year-old Declan must choose between his revolutionary past and a new life with his Canadian relatives.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Cover design: Christine Toller Cover illustration: eyewire.com  Printed and bound in Canada
05 04 03 • 5 4 3 2 1
INCANADA: Orca Book Publishers1030 North Park Street Victoria, BC Canada V8T 1C6
INTHEUNITEDSTATES: Orca Book PublishersPO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 98240-0468
It is fifteen minutes past two on a cold and rainy Tuesday morning in west Belfast—the middle of the night. A couple of kids are try-ing to siphon petrol from a parked Cortina. “Jeez! Hold it still will yer.” “Keep yer voice down!” The two boys look around nervously. It’s not the police they worry about, for the Royal Ulster Constabulary are seldom seen in the Catholic areas. They worry instead of being “lifted” by a British army patrol.
At eleven and twelve years of age, Ba-byface and Beanpole are the youngest in the gang, which explains why they are the ones assigned the unpleasant task of siphoning petrol. They wear no rain gear, only baseball caps, sweatshirts and jeans. The weather fore-cast for the North of Ireland calls for rain all week. Dark rainy mornings are best for this kind of work; the streets are deserted. Beanpole holds the plastic tubing in the Cortina’s tank while Babyface sucks the petrol and starts it running into a coffee jar. He spits. “Jeez! I hate the taste of it!” When the boys have filled three coffee jars they screw the lids on. “Make sure they’re tight,” says Beanpole. They load the jars into backpacks, cush-ioning them with old T-shirts and newspa-pers. Babyface looks over his shoulder nerv-ously. “It’s terrible quiet,” he whispers. “Let’s go,” says Beanpole. They carefully mount their bikes and pedal through the rain to a disused warehouse up the Falls Road where they hide the jars under a pile of trash. Then they go home to their beds.
The gang meets at the warehouse the next night. It is a little after midnight and it’s raining. There should be eight members, but only five are present: Rubber Bullet and Black Fever are missing; they were “lifted” follow-ing the gang’s recent attack on a Prod pub on the Crumlin Road where they destroyed with yellow paint-bombs a huge painting of the British flag on the pub’s outside wall. Ace is missing also, but he is expected any minute; he is busy stealing a car. The oldest in the gang is Lone Wolf, the leader, who is sixteen. They divide the three jars of petrol so that they end up with six coffee jars, each half full. Next, they tear six narrow strips from an old blanket, soak them in petrol and seal them in a plastic bag so they stay moist. They will need them later for fuses. Then they screw all the jar lids on tight. Next, they gather rocks. Each gang member now has a packsack loaded with half a jar of petrol and a large rock. They are ready. They stand in the open door of the warehouse, peering out at the rain. Lone Wolf looks at his wristwatch.
“We’re waitin’ for you, Ace,” he mutters. He is holding Ace’s packsack as well as his own. The minutes go by and the five boys begin to get impatient. The rain gurgles in the broken drain. Crusher keeps cracking his knuckles. “Stop with that!” Lone Wolf growls. “You’re givin’ me a headache.” Crusher slides his hands into his pock-ets. Car headlights sweep along the alleyway. “Here he comes,” says Beanpole. “About time,” says Crusher. Ace has a talent for stealing cars. The car he drives up to the door is a late model Accord. “Real nice!” says Badman. “Shut up and get in,” says Lone Wolf. “Hey! Stop shovin’.” “Move yer fat arse.” They squash themselves in, and Ace heads for the Shankill area, staying away from main roads to avoid army patrols. They park in a dark alleyway and walk a short way to Crown Street. The narrow street is lined with red brick terrace houses. The people who live here are Prods—Protestant
Loyalists. Most of the houses have British flags on their outside walls. A few windows are boarded up. Lone Wolf and Ace pull black balaclavas over their heads. The others tie their moth-ers’ headscarves over their faces. Badman passes the petrol-soaked fuses around, and the boys secure them to the jars with rubber bands. Lone Wolf gives orders quietly: “Beanpole and Crusher, take number forty-two.” “Badman and Babyface, take the next house, forty-four.” “And Ace, you come with me. We’ll take forty-six.” When they are in position, Lone Wolf gives the signal with a shrill whistle. At short range, they throw their rocks through the ground floor windows, shattering the glass; then they light the fuses of the petrol bombs and hurl them through the broken windows. The men, women and children in the three houses are terrified. The gang doesn’t wait to watch the fires or hear the shouts and screams of fear and anger. They flee into the darkness.